Family was so important to Dad. He loved his kids, and gave himself for us. He sang us to sleep at night, songs I still sing to my kids. He loved to work with his hands; he gave us a treehouse and a play house in the backyard. He loved green and growing things and surrounded himself with them. He always had a money-making scheme, and a lot of them actually worked - buying a storage locker and sell the contents, or buying an old car and flipping it.
Although his own father died when he was 4, and my mom grew up in a single-parent home as well, they gave us a more stable home than either of them had known growing up. He took his role as provider seriously and worked hard for us. His care was self-sacrificial and focussed on our needs over his own. And even when he was dying it was sometimes hard to know what he wanted for himself.
This has been my closest experience of death, and it has really brought home to me the vulgarity of death, which consumed his body like that. Standing by him shortly after he died, I thought “That’s not right, it isn’t him, he shouldn’t look like that!” But I was also reminded that this is not the end. In II Cor. 4:13-18, Paul writes:
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.And that was Dad’s life. He lived it for others and for Jesus, and now he is in glory, waiting with us for all things to be made new. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.